Electronics, 43 years ago

Thread Starter

schmitt trigger

Joined Jul 12, 2010
917
Found this magazine, from exactly 43 years ago.
What a blast from the past!

Not going to describe all the contents, but one can see that personal computers, although expensive, were starting to dominate consumer electronics.
 

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dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,988
I lived it. Started working in the field in 1977 1976 after I got my ASEET degree. We built an Altair 8800 as a class project from a kit my last year.
 
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Thread Starter

schmitt trigger

Joined Jul 12, 2010
917
Indeed, there were plenty of excellent magazines catering to every hobby and taste under the sun.

In the US, the largest electronics-enthusiast oriented were Popular Electronics and Radio-Electronics, but there were at least half a dozen smaller ones.
Popular Electronics was the one with the largest circulation, but -in my opinion- made a huge mistake when it changed its name to Computer and Electronics. Byte magazine was the leader in that segment.
 

Jerry-Hat-Trick

Joined Aug 31, 2022
574
In the UK the nearest hobby electronics magazine to professional was Wireless World - founded in the days when electroncs mostly meant wireless. My understanding is that radio amateurs were behind many ground breaking developments. I was told that they developed RS232 but I can't get that confirmed these days on the internet.

I do know that Arthur C Clarke who came up with the idea of geostationary satellites could not get it published in a "serious" physics/scientific journal so it was first piblished in Wireless World. They did a 50th anniversary reprint, around 1995 I believe. I had a copy, sadly no more, must stop throwing stuff out....
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,993
In the UK the nearest hobby electronics magazine to professional was Wireless World - founded in the days when electroncs mostly meant wireless. My understanding is that radio amateurs were behind many ground breaking developments. I was told that they developed RS232 but I can't get that confirmed these days on the internet.

I do know that Arthur C Clarke who came up with the idea of geostationary satellites could not get it published in a "serious" physics/scientific journal so it was first piblished in Wireless World. They did a 50th anniversary reprint, around 1995 I believe. I had a copy, sadly no more, must stop throwing stuff out....
I just recycled all my Wireless World collection from 1984 to 2000: tried to give them away but no-one wanted them. Most of them were still tied up with string since we moved house in 2013. If ever I want an article that I think must have been in Wireless World I just use the search function on www.worldradiohistory.com, instead of searching through hundreds of printed copies (which obviously, I haven't done for ten years)
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,413
In the UK the nearest hobby electronics magazine to professional was Wireless World - founded in the days when electroncs mostly meant wireless. My understanding is that radio amateurs were behind many ground breaking developments. I was told that they developed RS232 but I can't get that confirmed these days on the internet.

I do know that Arthur C Clarke who came up with the idea of geostationary satellites could not get it published in a "serious" physics/scientific journal so it was first piblished in Wireless World. They did a 50th anniversary reprint, around 1995 I believe. I had a copy, sadly no more, must stop throwing stuff out....
I'm not saying that hobbyist advancing technology in things like radio is a total myth but radio (among many fields like computing) professionals (military mainly) were light years ahead of radio amateurs. Most of the early advanced technology was created in government radio labs and security services in the 50's, 60's because they were the only ones with the budget to explore and build the very expensive prototypes and make practical machines from general electrical and computing theory.

As for RS232 there were several MIL-SPEC/TELCO signal specifications for 'low-level' (voltage level mark/space) that was used internally that could be converted 20/60ma TTY loops. RS-232 is just a connector voltage level interface standard, the low-level serial async standard predates it back to at least the SAGE computer.
http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/..._System_Technical_Reference_Catalog_May72.pdf


https://www.i-programmer.info/history/machines/441-sage.html
The radar centres had to transmit their data back to the command centres for processing. To achieve this they had to invent the modem. At first they couldn't understand why it wasn't working. They asked Bell for a specification their telephone lines conformed to and were surprised by the answer

"The lines are all right if you can talk over them"

Eventually they solved the problem by asking for a 300 mile telephone loop, injecting signals into one end and looking at what came out of the other. As a result of what they found they redesigned all their modems and managed to make them work at 1300 baud - as long as the telephone lines were specially conditioned.
https://www.smecc.org/sage_a_n_fsq-7.htm
a diagnostic that was run on the switching console.
1697382827288.png
First example of p0rn on a computer screen. :eek:
 
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Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
7,543
My dad had subscriptions to QST (Ham Radio) and PE (Popular Electronics. Growing up 50s and 60s I waited for every PE issue. I especially enjoyed The Adventures of Carl and Jerry segments. Great projects were to be found in those old magazines. I also agree PE never should have gotten into computers and computing.

Ron
 

Thread Starter

schmitt trigger

Joined Jul 12, 2010
917
Back then, electronic components sellers would advertise a full page on these magazines. The offering would consist of a list of perhaps 10 different transistor types, a dozen each of digital and linear ICs, some diodes, a handful of the most common passives, and miscellaneous stuff.

Some also offered “grab bags” of assorted and mixed stuff, which could be a gold mine for a poor experimenter like myself, if one had the time and inclination to sort and test them.
 
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